Here are a couple of additional pictures from the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show. Below is a stunning mass of yellow 'Dancing Lady' orchids turned into a flowering tree for the Interflora display. It was placed at the transept of the great hall of the exhibition building.

The mass of pink orchids to the right of the Interflora stand in the previous photo also caught my eye.

Well, in the last week we have had a return to hot weather for a couple of days, so the beach was a place of refreshment. While we are having an Indian Summer our friends in the UK are experiencing a harsh return to wintery conditions.

After all the exotic flowers of the 'Flower Show' it was a return to humbler materials at the class my teacher gave last week. Our task was to make an arrangement focussing on grasses. I decided to use, for the first time, a beautiful basket I had bought in New Zealand last year in which I made a naturalistic work. All of the grasses were collected beside the Yarra River on which the city of Melbourne is situated. I have added some peppercorn berries for their bright pink and some Abelia flowers. 

I find it very satisfying that ikebana enables us to enjoy the rich beauty of these simple materials.

Greetings from  Christopher 
29th March 2013


On Wednesday last week the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show opened for its five days of exhibitions and demonstrations. In the gardens outside the Royal Exhibition Building there are many beautiful temporary gardens on display and a large variety of commercial businesses showing plants and garden related merchandise. This is how the grand Victorian building looks on a winters day.

In the Great Hall are a variety of displays that are more directly related to flowers. In the foreground of the picture below you can see people seated to watch a demonstration.

One of the displays I always enjoy is of mannequins dressed in 'clothes' made from botanical materials by students of the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology design schools. In the picture below is a young student being photographed beside a mannequin wearing a dress the student made from leaves (dracena, I think) and a stunning cloak made from sliced oranges.

Members of the Melbourne Chapter of Ikebana International created the exhibition below with Sogetsu, Ichiyo, Ikenobo, Ohara, and Shogetsudokoryu schools being represented. They created a unified feel by all using natural cane in their arrangements as well as red anthuriums and dark glossy green leaves.

It was difficult to photograph the individual arrangements. Here is the Ikenobo School work.

This is the Ohara School work, a bit complicated by the Ichiyo School work behind it.

Shogetsudokoryu School.

Ichiyo School. Photographed a little from the side.

The Sogetsu School work was a wall arrangement at the back of the display space that gave a good feeling of height.

The Sogetsu School was also represented by 'window' displays. Below is the work of Toula and Betty Karanikolopoulos, for which they received a Fourth Place.

Emily Karanikolopoulos created the work below using shaped bamboo. She was rewarded for her work with a First Place.

Her use of a small number of cyclamen provided a subtle focus in the work.

Greetings from Christopher
24th March 2013


I am writing today from my home on the coast of Victoria, Australia, after spending the past 10 weeks in Europe. Laurie and I spent our last few days with friends in the Surrey village of Cranleigh where the sun finally shone brightly enough to lunch at this out-door cafe.

The trees were still thinking about putting forth leaves.

Although catkins were well in evidence.

I noticed this squirrel out foraging in the afternoon sunshine.

Warm jackets were still necessary and our hosts have since told us they were subjected to heavy snow a week later on the 12th March. 

It is a somewhat strange experience in a matter of about 24 hours to go from a cool northern hemisphere spring to a southern hemisphere autumn. Late summer really, given that here on the southern edge of the Australian mainland we have had eight days of temperatures in the mid 30's. This is how the beach looked in the early morning of our first day home.

I attended my ikebana class this last week. I failed to photograph my work at the time so have re-used the materials here in this casual arrangement of Morning Glory. The vase is a Bizen beaker with soft colours that complemented the flowers. I rather liked the changing colour and texture of the flowers that were past their peak and had started to wither.

My teacher had set a Chabana arrangement as the class exercise. At home I re-created the work in a hanging vase.

Greetings from Christopher

16th March 2013


At last there are signs of early Spring even though the temperature has been under 6 degrees for the past week. As this is our last week in the United Kingdom I thought I should include some photo's of some distinctive architecture. 

We visited Stonehenge on a grey day with a bitterly cold wind blowing.  

This charming house was in the city of Salisbury.

This view is of the  cloister of Salisbury Cathedral.

Here is the central tower of Canterbury Cathedral, seen from the city wall. 

I was delighted to see these crocuses, below, while out walking on our brief visit to Cornwall.

This beautiful hellebore was in the Royal Horticultural Society's garden at Wisley in Surrey.

I think this small flower is a fuchsia.

I loved the texture and colours of the bark of these birches, also at Wisley . The first is Betula albosinsensis.

and these dried leaves of giant rhubarb (Gunnera manicata) also had a beautiful texture.

In this week's ikebana I am wanting to express the coming northern hemisphere Spring. I have used Cherry blossom that is just beginning to open and to suggest the passing winter I have used insect damaged leaves of blackberry. The improvised vase is made from a plastic mineral water bottle.

Greetings from Christopher

6th March 2013


The weather has turned wintery again as I write this from London where the maximum temperature today was 3 degrees Celsius. Light snow was falling not long after I took this picture of the bare birch trees in front of the Tate Modern Gallery.

A view of St Paul's cathedral and the Millennium Bridge.

On the first day in London I went to the church pictured below, the Rosslyn Hill Unitarian Chapel, in Hampstead, to see an exhibition of ikebana by the London Branch of the Sogetsu School.

This is a general view of the space with beautiful arrangements that had been created on the previous day. It was wonderful to enter this space and be lifted up by the warm colours of the flowers after the  grey outside. 

The exhibition included a demonstration of a basic upright and a slanting nageire arrangement by one of the members of the London Sogetsu Branch.

I have only been able to include photographs of a few of the works. 

Greetings from Christopher
25th February 2013